My personal story
One of my earliest memories is a painting hanging on my grandparents’ village house wall. A little girl reaching for a giant cherry (it was actually an apple as I realised years later) – the girls’ cheeks and the “cherry” in the same fruity pinkish colour. It was a cheap reproduction on a newspaper quality paper, but to my childhood’s eyes, it was a masterpiece. I could spend hours staring at it; I was falling asleep and waking up in the morning with this beautiful image both above my head and within my heart.
This was the first time in my life I have experienced art.
I didn’t attend an art secondary school so I didn’t have formal art education when I decided to go to the Academy of Arts. Yet I succeeded, I got in! What a profound experience of insight it was! As if a whole new world flushed into my life, and for the first time I felt recognised, valuable and unique. I felt like I really mattered. Becoming an art student was a huge transition in my life path; a real revelation.
The time in the Academy was a time of discovering, experimenting, and creating. Not only were we modelling the clay in the high ceiling studios, but we were also modelling ourselves. We were sharing our dinners and our dreams; experiencing artistic failures and building friendships that would last for decades. We were young believers and romantic rebels, and above all, breathing in the freedom and sweet inebriation that comes with recognition.
Becoming a mother was the second powerful transition that I have gone through in my life. Anyone that has ever lived in a close relationship with another person knows how challenging it might be at times. The closer the person is, the more challenging the experience.
I have three of the closest ones you can ever have – the blood of my blood, flesh of my flesh. And hand in hand with the infinite love goes the pushing of my boundaries, and I need to overcome myself and fight my demons day after day and year after year. Another real revelation – and I am so grateful for that too.
The birth of my children was a huge path to go. I changed lots of beliefs and habits. I suppose I am what can be called a family person – I totally immersed myself in the experience of pregnancy, breastfeeding and motherhood. It’s been 10 years and three home births now and I am still so much into it – looking after my children, still nursing my youngest and working from my home as much as I can.
During the time of my motherhood art was pushed back in the periphery; it was like there was not much time and space for creating. I’ve been drowned in various birth-related activities and all of my energy was going there – I attended midwifery and doula classes, run Expectant Parents Classes; and meanwhile I was doing my job for living as a 3D modeller in a studio in Bulgaria.
Birth was my new Art, the Art of Birth. I loved reading, talking and thinking on birth-related topics; talking to other pregnant women and sharing my experience. It was time for a new community, new friends and powerful women circle of love and support in my life.
In 2015 I moved to London, UK, with my family. A year later I was pregnant with my third child and it was around that time when my birth experience started transforming into an art experience. I found new themes that interested me. Pregnancy and fertility topics, breastfeeding and motherhood compositions naturally emerged in my work.
I created a series of small and medium-size drawings and paintings and launched my Etsy shop. My energy was once again unleashed – this time to reconcile these two diverse approaches to life – Motherhood and Art.
Galya has experience as sculptor and painter, jewellery designer, graphic designer, teaching arts for children and 3D modeller. At present, she dedicates herself exclusively to her family and art practice.
Galya Stambolieva was born (1978) and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria, where she graduated M.A. in Sculpture from the National Academy of Arts in 2003. In the period 2000 – 2015 she took part in numerous group exhibitions, National and International Symposiums, Art Plein airs, Workshops and Projects.
In 2015 she moved to London, the UK with her family.
The birth of her 3 children deeply influenced her art. As a result themes about motherhood, family and divine feminine are now some of the most important topics in her work.